© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Case Western Reserve University bars student protesters from commencement

Tents in a line on the grass at Case Western Reserve University.
Ygal Kaufman
Ideastream Public Media
Pro-Palestinian protesters camped out on the Kelvin Smith Library Oval at Case Western Reserve University for two weeks, between April 29 and May 10. Eventually, the university declared that the the demonstrators violated the university's guidelines and were "trespassing" after they declined to break the encampment.

Case Western Reserve University said today graduating seniors involved in pro-Palestinian protests on campus will be barred from commencement ceremonies.

The administration issued a statement saying that it has begun a student code of conduct process for those who took part in the protest.

The university said it will temporarily withhold degrees from students involved with the "unsanctioned encampment on private property and other conduct violations" while it meets with students accused of misconduct.

"The university also has issued notices to third parties who were involved with the encampment, prohibiting them from campus," the statement read. "These actions follow repeated warnings from President Eric W. Kaler to those remaining in the unsanctioned encampment and, later, to those blocking access to Adelbert Hall, that their actions violated university policies and would result in referral to the appropriate conduct process."

A student involved with the protest, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid further punishment, provided a copy of an email a number of protesters received from the university notifying them that they would be barred from attending commencement ceremonies. The email also states that students involved in the protest would not be allowed to move around on campus, outside of staying in their dormitory or going to the nearest dining hall.

"Based on our involvement with encampment activities at the Kelvin Smith Library Oval and other related activities, the university has made the decision to impose an Interim Separation from Case Western Reserve University," the email reads.

Student protest organizers in an email sent Monday afternoon said at least a dozen such emails have gone out over the last two days.

"He (CWRU President Kaler) is now banning Palestinian students and those who speak up for Palestinian rights from campus and threatening to withhold their degrees," the release alleged. "They have not issued such letters to any of the students whose views align with Kalers, or outside agitators who walked through student protestors chanting anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian slurs. The university calls for student safety have only been calls for safety of some students, at the expense of others, based on their Palestinian heritage or their support of those with Palestinian heritage."

The university has declined to comment further, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Conor Morris is the education reporter for Ideastream Public Media.